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Co-founders of Kay’s Processing LLC and Kay’s Naturals, Inc., Chosen as Minnesota’s Encore Entrepreneurs of the Year

Release Date: 
Monday, March 13, 2017
Release Number: 
17.06.MN
Contact: 
Sarah Swenty, 612-370-2316, sarah.swenty@sba.gov

MINNEAPOLIS – The U.S. Small Business Administration has chosen Massoud Kazemzadeh, Ph.D. and Ann Jones Kazemzadeh, J.D., co-founders of Kay’s Processing LLC, and Kay’s Naturals, Inc., as the Minnesota Encore Entrepreneurs of the Year for 2017. Located in Clara City, Minn., they produce a line of high protein, gluten free cereals and snacks which are sold nationwide.

Dr. Kazemzadeh (or "Dr. Kay" as he is affectionately known), COO of Kay’s Processing LLC, pioneered manufacturing food products using extrusion technology.  Nearly 20 years ago, he developed high protein, reduced carbohydrate, low sugar snacks to help his Type 1 diabetic wife, Linda, and together they formed Kay's Naturals, Inc. to market those products. After Linda’s untimely death, Dr. Kay eventually married Ann Jones and they have continued the dream he and Linda shared to bring healthier snacks and cereal to the marketplace.

Since 2000, the Kazemzadeh’s have manufactured Kay’s Naturals products in Clara City, Minn.  With the help of the local community, the Kazemzadehs have built a business in rural Minnesota that has Global Food Safety Initiative certification under the BRC Standard with a grade of "A", as well as kosher, organic and gluten-free certifications.

“We have had persistent, committed support from Clara City citizens,” says Dr. Kay. “and we have been proud to call Clara City home for the last 10 years.” 

As president of Kay's Naturals, Inc., Ms. Kazemzadeh brings invaluable planning and leadership experience to the management team. She has led Kay's Naturals from the concept phase to national distribution with a network of physicians' offices, major regional distributors, large grocery and drug chains, and health food and sports nutrition retailers.   

The Kazemzadehs took over management of their Clara City manufacturing facility in 2003, named it Kay’s Processing LLC, and in 2010, with the help of SBA guaranteed funding, bought and upgraded it. In addition to making its products, Kay’s Processing develops and contracts to manufacture cereals and snacks for start-up companies as well as larger, well-known entities. 

In the last three years, they have invested over $3.8 million into the 96,000-square-foot facility, which has an additional five acres of land for future growth.

Today, Kay’s Processing LLC employs 30 people in Clara City and gives back to the community in multiple ways, including through affordable housing for their employees and contributions to local fundraisers, such as the local volunteer fire department, a new community swimming pool, and annual scholarship programs for graduating seniors. 

The SBA, along with the SCORE Association and the Minnesota State Small Business Development Center, will honor all the 2017 winners at the Minnesota Small Business Week Awards Luncheon on May 4, 2017, at the Marriott Minneapolis Northwest in Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Registration is open for the event until April 30 at http://conta.cc/2ns07WA.

For more information on Small Business Week, please visit www.sba.gov/NSBW.

 

The Small Business Administration was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. The Minnesota District Office provides SBA programs and services to the state of Minnesota. Working with our resource partners across the state, we help businesses start, grow and achieve success. For more information on our programs and services, visit www.sba.gov/mn.

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